Czech town of Kroměříž plans to demolish Romani-occupied buildings in approach reminiscent of previous evictions
The town hall of Kroměříž has been inspired by the approach taken by towns such as Holešov or Vsetín and reportedly plans to demolish buildings currently serving as social housing in the Račín settlement, where roughly 100 "socially vulnerable" residents live in the quarter called "Dolní zahrady" (Lower Gardens), most of whom are Romani. After the demolition, apartments for senior citizens are supposed to be built there, and the current residents, according to Vice-Mayor Pavel Motyčka, will be moved into other localities.
The regional section of news server iDNES.cz reported on the plans yesterday. According to opposition city assembly member Daniela Hebnarová, Račín is an excluded locality where not only the relationships between majority-society and Romani neighbors have become exacerbated in recent years, but allegedly the relationships among members of the Romani community itself have as well.
Recently the work of local police patrols was beefed up in the settlement. Libor Kubiš, director of the Kroměříž Police, told iDNES.cz that these days public order in Račín is equivalent to conditions elsewhere.
Jana Juráňová, a field social worker with the Argo organization who regularly visits the neighborhood, agrees with him. "No big disturbances are going on there. Some of the offending inhabitants have already moved away, and from time to time the difficulties that do happen are probably caused by just one family who have been living in Račín for four years," she explained to iDNES.cz.
Motyčka, however, has highlighted the complaints he receives from the residents of the surrounding apartment buildings about noise or the making of threats in particular. Hebnarová has said that razing the building will just move the problems between the majority and the minority residents to other locations in town, but Motyčka has asserted that the localities into which the Romani residents will be moved will be chosen so as "to avoid harassment".
The vice-mayor also emphasized that the town currently has 1 300 requests for housing from local senior citizens on file. He also pointed out that the demolition project will depend on whether the town receives grant funds for the work, and it is not yet clear whether it will be implemented.
Currently the matter is allegedly undergoing a thorough analysis. The case is somewhat reminiscent of the previous maneuvers of the Mayor of Vsetín, Jiří Čunek, or the events that occurred in 2010 in Holešov.
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